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Title: Etiquette Made Easy

Author: Edward Summers Squier

Release date: April 29, 2016 [eBook #51887]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Emmy and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at







Made Easy Series


Emblem: Made Easy Series






THE POLITEST MAN of whom history has record was a Norwegian. A stranger in a town of Norway asked a passing native the way to a certain address. The native raised his hat, bowed, and said:

“Sir, I am very sorry, but I do not know.”

The stranger passed on. A few minutes later, he heard the sound of some one running behind him. He faced about, and recognized the native, who came, halted, and after a few deep breaths, said, while bowing with uplifted hat:

“Sir, after leaving you, I met my brother-in-law, and I regret to tell you, Sir, that he also does not know.”

In spite of this story with its Norwegian[6] hero, first place is usually given to the French in matters of politeness. There is an old story that illustrates with remarkable precision the national traits of French, English and German. This has to do with the manner of lighting a cigar. The Frenchman strikes a match, offers the flame to his companions, then makes a light for himself. The Englishman lights his own cigar first, and then offers the match to his companions. The German lights his own cigar, then throws the match away. The brief recital contains something deeper than mere humor in its analysis of national characteristics. The consideration of the Frenchman for others is indeed the essential basis for all true courtesy. Genuine politeness has its root always in a very real regard for the feelings of others.

The ancient proverb declares that cleanliness is next to godliness. In fact, so far as concerns casual associations, cleanliness is the more important. We have ordinarily nothing to do with the morals of those[7] whom we encounter for a few fugitive moments, but the most fleeting companionship with a dirty person is offensive, while a perfect cleanliness is always pleasing in its effect.

As a matter of fundamental courtesy toward others, we are required to keep ourselves clean. Such cleanliness may be excellent as a hygienic measure, but one most eminent physician has declared that bathing is not essential to health, and he offers in proof of his assertion the great number of old persons there are in the world.

But those aged unwashed would be repulsive in refined society. Their condition would distress others. Quite involuntarily, they would thus be guilty of discourtesy.

The principle of consideration for others that exalts cleanliness as a virtue is the principle that actually fashions all the essential forms of politeness. At a decent dinner-table, one must not smack his lips,[8] or make loud noises in taking soup from the spoon, for the simple reason that such behavior will annoy others. Often, a sympathetic person, absolutely untaught in the niceties of etiquette, will do the right thing by a natural instinct of kindliness, where another individual of polite breeding will do the wrong from sheer lack of that fellow-feeling which gives understanding.

Nevertheless, while the noblest courtesy must spring always from the heart, common convenience has settled on definite methods of deportment for various occasions. Ignorance of these details as to proper conduct is not a matter to be contemned, but one to be regretted, because a person thus ignorant, no matter how kindly his intention, must often disturb others by failure to do the expected thing in the expected way. In other words, he lacks knowledge of what are termed the proprieties. It is with the intention of offering assistance to those finding themselves in doubt as to the niceties of[9] deportment that this book has been prepared.

It is arranged with the contents in alphabetical order, so that the topics are self-indexed.

In addition to the bulk of information set forth in the following pages, there needs only one direction of importance.

This is based on the ancient saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Practically every community has its local customs, and these are always to be respected. There is nothing more snobbish than criticism by a stranger of social forms that are well established. It is always his duty to respect them and to observe them. Otherwise, he displays that lack of consideration for others which is the root of all rudeness. One sympathetically disposed toward his fellows who avails himself of the information in this book may rest confident in the assurance that he is indeed the possessor of good manners.



At Homes 13
Bachelor Hosts 23
Balls 26
Breakfasts 31
Calls 34
Cards 45
Dinners 61
Garden-Parties 70
House-Parties 75
Introductions 84
Letters 95
Luncheons 103
Mourning 106
Musicales 113
Opera 117
Private Theatricals      121
Receptions 122
Smoking 123
Stairs 124
Street Etiquette 125
Table Manners 128
Teas 133
Theater-Parties 134
Weddings 141


Etiquette Made Easy



THE AFTERNOON TEA is perhaps the most popular of social functions, and deservedly so, since it is essentially of the utmost simplicity, yet may be expanded into a most elaborate social affair. In the original simple form, the hostess merely welcomes her guests as they come to her on her regular day at home, in the drawing-room, and there offers them a cup of tea served by herself and light refreshments of sandwiches and cakes and the like.

The next development in the tea is in the nature of a small afternoon reception,[14] or at home. For this occasion, the hostess issues invitations a week in advance. A visiting-card serves the purpose, with a line written below the name:

Wednesday, June fourth
from four until seven o’clock

If there is to be a guest of honor, an additional line may indicate the fact:

To meet........................

The procedure for the hostess at a function of this sort is more formal. It is usual to have the refreshments in the dining-room, though they should not be of an elaborate character. The teapot is placed at one end of the table, and presided over by some friend, since the obligations of the hostess prevent her rendering this hospitable service in person.

The third stage of the afternoon tea has come to take the place of the old-time reception, though it bears merely the designation “At Home.”


The requisite invitations must be sent out any time from a week to a fortnight before the date set. For these, an engraved form is essential. They are printed on heavy white bristol board, of the quality described for dinner-invitations, and inclosed in a single envelope. They may be issued in the name of the hostess alone, or in the names of a hostess and her daughter or daughters, or in the names of husband and wife—though this last is a very modern innovation. The following will serve as a model:

Mrs. James French Putnam

At Home

April the seventh

From four until seven o’clock

208 Flagg Avenue

If the husband joins with the wife in issuing the invitations, the only change is in the first line:

Mr. and Mrs. James French Putnam


Where a daughter is to receive with her mother, the girl’s name appears just below that of the matron:

Mrs. James French Putnam
Miss Putnam

Where there are two or more daughters thus associated with the mother, they are included under one title. Thus:

Mrs. James French Putnam

The Misses Putnam

When a younger sister is to appear at her début, her name in full is given a line after those of her mother and elder sister:

Mrs. James French Putnam
Miss Putnam
Miss Helen Louise Putnam

In the event of a guest of honor, the invitation may emphasize the presence of this personage by a special engraved[17] announcement at the head of the invitation:

To meet


The remainder of the invitation will follow any of the forms indicated above.

Or the announcement may appear in one engraved line at the foot of the invitation:

To meet................................

At a reception of this character, the hostess is obliged to remain on duty near the door of the drawing-room throughout the hours set. But a husband or daughter receiving with her, though expected to join her in receiving the guests at the outset and for a considerable time afterward, is not so rigidly held to the one place, but after a time may properly move about among the guests with hospitable intent.

But a débutante must remain at the post of duty with her mother throughout the whole time.


In recent years, there has developed a pleasant custom by which the débutante invites a number of her young friends to join her in receiving the other guests. It is usual to entertain these at dinner after the reception.

The refreshments for an occasion of this sort are served in the dining-room with servants in attendance. Tea is poured at one end of the table, and perhaps chocolate at the other, while a bowl of punch is commonly at hand. The refreshments are of the buffet variety, but they may be as rich and varied as the hostess chooses. At such functions in the city, it is usual to lay a strip of carpet from the house door to the curb, and an awning raised over this offers protection to the guests in inclement weather. Where the list of guests is long, a liveried servant at the curb not only opens the doors of the motors, but also issues checks by which the cars may be summoned for the departure of the guests.


A butler opens the house door as the guest approaches, and gives directions as to the dressing-rooms. Another liveried servant at the door of the drawing-room announces each guest by name to the hostess.

At such affairs, both hostess and women guests wear what is properly termed a reception-gown—that is to say, one of elegance and richness, with a train if the prevailing mode permits, but not decolleté or sleeveless. Hats of a character harmonious with the gown are worn throughout the function, as are gloves.

The men wear black frock coats and gray striped trousers, with either a black waistcoat or a fancy one according to choice. While he leaves his coat and hat in the dressing-room at such formal affairs, a man retains his gloves, either keeping the left glove on the hand, and carrying the other, or carrying both. The right hand must be bare.

Each woman guest leaves on a tray[20] provided for that purpose in the hall a card for her hostess and one for each of any other women receiving. She may also leave similarly the cards of any other woman member of her family who has been invited, but does not attend.

The man leaves a card for his host if there is one, in addition to those for the ladies.

No reply is necessary from one invited to such a reception, either of acceptance or of refusal. The presence of the guests is deemed a sufficient answer. In the event of non-attendance, the guest must be at pains to send cards, and these should be so timed in the sending that they will reach their address on the day of the at home, preferably in the afternoon.

At crowded affairs, the guest displays good manners as well as good sense by making the stay short. Twenty minutes is a sufficient time, and departure should not be delayed much beyond a half-hour. It is better not to say farewell to the hostess,[21] unless the going should be at a time when few guests remain, and she is obviously at leisure.

The punctilious guest will make a point of arriving neither too early nor too late. Between half-past four and six is recommended.

The formal evening reception is less popular than in former days, but it still prevails to a limited extent. The procedure throughout is substantially the same as for that of the afternoon reception. The wording of the invitation is identical, with the single exception of the time specified.

The line that indicated the hours from four until seven o’clock must be changed to read:

From nine until eleven o’clock

Or, it may be properly stated, if one’s taste so dictates:

After nine o’clock

While for the evening reception all other formal details are the same as for an afternoon[22] affair, the costumes of the guests, both men and women, are changed as befits the change in hours. The men are scrupulous in the exactitude of their evening garb—swallow tail, white linen and white cravat and white waistcoat, and patent-leather shoes; while the women array themselves in their handsomest evening gowns, decolleté and sleeveless, and display the richest of their jewels.




WHEN A BACHELOR entertains either in the afternoon or evening, he follows in a general way the procedure indicated for receptions under the heading “At Homes.” If the affair is to be elaborate, he may use engraved invitations.

Mr. Hartley Fane Treadwell

requests the pleasure of



on Wednesday afternoon, November the first

From four until seven o’clock

Nine East Third Street

A word or two at the bottom on the left may indicate any special entertainment, such as Music.


But there are certain proprieties to be observed that are peculiar to the bachelor. For example, he is not permitted to use a visiting-card with a line written on it for less formal invitations. Instead, he must write a note in the first person, or he may give the invitation orally. The invitations should be issued a week or a little less before the appointed time.

There is one other requirement of vital importance. The bachelor must always have a chaperon present for any gathering that includes both sexes. And she must be invited by note, or orally—even in cases where the formal engraved invitations are employed.

The chaperon pours tea, and on occasions when the guests are seated at table, she is given the place on the host’s right, unless there is a guest of honor, when she is given the position on his left.

The other women guests must take their departure at the same time as the chaperon, unless they prefer an earlier hour.


The presence of the chaperon at such entertainments makes it unnecessary for the unmarried girl to provide one for herself.

The chaperon should be a married woman, and her husband must be included among the invited guests.

When a bachelor wishes to issue engraved invitations for a formal dinner-party or luncheon, he uses the forms provided respectively in the chapters entitled “Dinners” and “Luncheons.” The directions as to breakfasts also will be found appropriate in a general way as set forth in the special chapter.

A bachelor should always be punctilious in calling on a chaperon shortly after any affair at which she has officiated, in order to tender his grateful appreciation of her services in his behalf.




THE INVITATIONS for a formal ball are engraved on a sheet similar to that used for dinner-parties. But, like the dinner-invitations, they may also be written by the hostess. In sending these invitations by mail only one envelope is used when the invitation is written out. But the engraved form is enclosed first in an unsealed envelope with merely the name of the guest on the cover. This is put in a second envelope, which is sealed and has both the name and address written on it for posting. An engraved invitation, however, when delivered by a messenger requires only a single envelope, sealed.

These invitations must be sent out not less than ten days before the date of the[27] ball, and they may be issued three weeks before the appointed time.

The accepted form may be either of those following:

Mr. and Mrs. George Wheatley

request the pleasure of your company

on Wednesday evening, April the second

at half-past nine o’clock

Dancing 71 Hamilton Place

Mrs. George Wheatley

Miss Wheatley

At Home

Tuesday, April the ninth

at eleven o’clock

Dancing 71 Hamilton Place

It is permissible to write the initials, R.s.v.p. below the word Dancing.

In place of Dancing, the word Cotillon may appear, if the whole evening is to be devoted especially to this dance. So, too, the words Bal Poudré may be substituted[28] for Dancing, if the affair is to be a costume ball. Or any other form of entertainment may be similarly indicated.

The form used in accepting or declining such an invitation follows exactly the wording given in a later chapter in connection with dinner-invitations.

It is the duty of the hostess to greet her guests as at a dinner-party, and a daughter or daughters may assist her in her hospitable duties, but such assistance is not required of them. The host, also, may join his wife in receiving, and may make himself socially useful by various attentions to the guests. But such action on his part is discretionary, except that in the case of a woman guest of particular importance, he should take her in to supper if this is served at tables. Where a buffet supper is served, it is fitting that he should escort various guests from time to time.

It is not always necessary to invite mothers or chaperons to a private ball, and in that case a girl may be sent with[29] a maid to accompany her. When the mother receives an invitation and accepts it, she may choose not to remain, but to leave after entrusting her daughter to the care of the hostess, or some other friend.

At elaborate dances, the supper at midnight is served on small tables, at which the guests are seated. The buffet supper is popular on account of its convenience, since the guests select whatever pleases them at any time.

Unlike the rule as to dinners, there is no obligation for prompt arrival on the ball guest. Likewise, the guest may leave at any time. It is not necessary to seek the hostess for a farewell, but if she is near, she should be addressed with appropriate phrase in appreciation of the hospitality that has been enjoyed.

A girl at a ball usually establishes herself in a seat by her chaperon, to whom she returns according to her convenience after dancing. It is perfectly proper for her, if at any time she wishes to be rid of[30] a partner, to ask that he accompany her back to this seat beside her chaperon.

Evening clothes are essential for the male guest at a ball, and the wearing of white gloves is obligatory. A careful man is very likely to provide himself with an extra pair. At informal dances, ungloved men often cover the hand with a handkerchief to avoid any risk of soiling a partner’s bodice. If a man serves as escort for a woman, or for a girl and her chaperon, it is a part of his duty to provide a carriage to and fro.

The ball-dress for women is usually the most elegant their taste and means will contrive. It is always decolleté, and commonly sleeveless.




A   HOSTESS MAY USE her visiting-card for invitations to breakfast, simply writing on it below her name:

Breakfast at eleven o’clock
April the fourth

A more formal affair may have an engraved invitation on paper similar to that used in the case of dinners. This would have the following form:

Mrs. George Vinton Thorne

requests the pleasure of


company at breakfast



Eleven Green Street


Or the hostess may, if she prefers, write a brief note of invitation in the first person. Whatever form is employed, the invitations should be sent out a full week, or a little more, before the date set for the breakfast.

The answer to such an invitation should be sent promptly, whether in acceptance or in refusal. The form is identical with that for dinner-invitations, except that the word breakfast is substituted for the word dinner.

Where the invitation is a note written in the first person, the answer must follow the same style.

A breakfast of the more informal sort, with no more than eight or ten guests, may begin as early as ten o’clock, but a later hour is preferred for very ceremonious affairs, with noon most esteemed as the hour.

Grapefruit is usually served, with finger-bowl accompaniment, and the meal that follows may be as simple or as elaborate[33] as the taste and resources of the hostess dictate.

Usually both sexes are included among the guests at a breakfast. The women remove their gloves after taking their places at table, but not their hats. Veils may be removed entirely or pushed up out of the way, according to the wearer’s choice.

The guest should remain at least a half-hour after the conclusion of the meal, but not longer than an hour unless justified by exceptional circumstances.

Frock or cutaway coats are worn by the men, and afternoon dress by the women. The costumes for a ten o’clock breakfast should be somewhat plainer than for one at the more formal hour of noon.




FORMAL CALLS are to be made in the afternoon between three o’clock and half-past five.

If a hostess has a day at home, formal calls on her should be made on that day. It is well also so to time visits for congratulation or to return thanks for any hospitality, or the like, as to have them also fall on the day at home. Usually, a due attention by visitors to this set time for calling is appreciated by a hostess.

While the formal hours for calls are in the afternoon as indicated above, the time varies in different neighborhoods. Evening calls are common in the country necessarily as a matter of convenience. And, while in the city women pay no formal calls on Sunday, these are permitted in smaller[35] places. Ordinarily, too, there is license in the country as to the length even of formal calls, which may be extended without impropriety far beyond the limit of fifteen or twenty minutes which is well established in the city. A new resident or visitor in any community should be at pains to get information as to the local usage, and conform to it in all details.

It is permissible for men in our country to make social calls in the afternoon on Sunday, or in the evening. The exigencies of business are the excuse for the departure from the stricter form, which still holds in the case of women. The hour of such evening calls in the larger cities is from eight to nine, but the time is earlier in smaller towns and in the country. In every instance, the local custom is to be followed. Of course, too, men of leisure may pay their calls in the afternoon.

New residents in a neighborhood must await calls from those already established there. In the city, the first calls of the[36] social season should be received by the hostess who first sends out her at-home cards. Where women have met out of town, and wish to continue the acquaintance in the city, the unmarried woman should call on the matron, or one who is under any obligation for hospitality should make the first call. Unless a distinction be drawn for some such reason, either may properly pay the first visit.

It is notorious that in the large cities there is no welcome for the newcomer from the dweller next door or across the street. The conditions of city life justify such aloofness. On the other hand, the conditions of life in the smaller places warrant exactly the opposite in the matter of hospitality. It is the recognized duty of the older residents to welcome new arrivals by calling on them promptly, after the strangers have had time to dispose themselves comfortably.

There are many varieties of those calls that are imposed by formal courtesy.[37] Thus, in the matter of weddings, it becomes the duty of any one who has taken official part in the affair, such as a bride’s-maid or a best man, to call on the mother of the bride within a few days after the marriage ceremony, and also to call on the bride immediately after her return from the honeymoon trip. The like duty devolves on invited guests to a home wedding, to a wedding-reception and to a wedding-breakfast.

A similar formal call should be paid to the hostess by each guest at a dinner, or breakfast, or other special entertainment. Such a call must be made within two weeks. The obligation is the same even in cases where the invitation has been declined.

As to the returning of calls, such visits should be made on the day at home if there is one, and otherwise at a suitable time according to the social usage of the neighborhood within a fortnight. But this ruling applies properly only to the return[38] for a first call. Afterward, a longer or shorter interval may elapse between visits according to the desire of the parties concerned. A former acquaintance may be maintained merely by an annual exchange of calls. It must be noted, however, that a call in person demands a personal visit in return. The formal leaving of a card at the door does not suffice.

Persons giving up their residence in a community or going on a long journey should send their cards to their full visiting-list with the initials P.p.c. (Pour prendre congé, for leave-taking).

It occurs often that a person wishes to call on a friend in the home of a stranger. Such a call is permissible, but the visitor should ask for the hostess as well as the friend, and leave a card for her.

In the matter of initiative, it is fitting that an elder woman should invite a younger to the exchange of cards and calls, and that the matron should thus invite the maiden. Where there is equality[39] of years or station, the first advance must depend on the personal inclinations of the parties.

The proprieties in reference to calls between women are thus seen to be simple enough. There is more complexity in the procedure when it has to do with the calling of men on women. It is not deemed proper for a young unmarried woman to invite calls from men. Such visits on their part are left to the discretion of the mother or chaperon. But, undoubtedly, the débutante will see to it that mother or chaperon does not fail in her functions. As to the older women, and those married, there is some variation locally in the polite usage. Sometimes the woman feels it her privilege to invite the man to call without awaiting solicitation on his part; sometimes she requires that the advance should be on the part of the man in the form of a request for permission to visit her.

If any person requires that a definite time should be given for the emancipation[40] of a girl from the social dominance of her mother or chaperon, it may be set at about the twenty-fifth year, after which time a young woman is theoretically fitted to decide for herself as to who her visitors shall be.

A young woman of sensibility will be extremely chary of her invitations to men, and very sure before extending them that they are really desired. If at any time a man fails to avail himself of such an invitation, her self-respect will not permit her to repeat it.

The strictness of the above rules of conduct has been greatly relaxed in the case of the average American girl, who democratically insists from the outset of her social career on her own choice in the matter of acquaintances and friends. But even this laxity does not permit an invitation to a man on the first meeting. Such haste is neither good form nor ordinary prudence.

In a consideration of formal calls, it[41] should be noted that in practise the offices of the wife are commonly accepted in her husband’s behalf by her leaving his card when she pays her dinner-call, or the like. The exigencies of business are supposed to justify this vicarious method.

While it is proper for a woman to call upon a man for business reasons, social calls are forbidden.

Calls of condolence, except when there is an intimate friendship, are properly made by leaving a card. The expression of sympathy is usually best made by a brief note.

Calls of congratulation may be made by acquaintances of both sexes on a woman who announces her engagement to be married. Calls following the announcement of a birth are expected by the mother from the women of her acquaintance.

The day at home is such a social convenience that it is popular, not only in the cities, but in many smaller towns. It is usually set for one afternoon in the week,[42] sometimes for an afternoon each two weeks during the social season. The day should appear on the visiting-card. The hours for entertaining on the day at home are from three until six, but this period is frequently extended for another hour. The hostess should devote herself assiduously to her guests, and should provide some light forms of food and drink. Usually, tea is served. Sufficient notice is given of the day at home by sending out the visiting-cards at the beginning of the season. One advantage of the day at home is that it justifies the hostess in not receiving casual callers on other occasions.

It is the duty of the hostess to meet and address each guest with a handshake. “How do you do, Mrs. Smith? I am so glad to see you!” or a similar phrase, should be used in greeting each arrival. She should also introduce strangers to other guests near by. She should not leave the reception-room to make her farewells to departing guests, unless in case of some[43] person of particular distinction. “Good-afternoon, Mr. Brown. I shall hope to see you again very soon,” or the like, affords a sufficient form of farewell.

If the husband is present during his wife’s at home, he should undertake to second her hospitable efforts to the best of his ability, showing attention to any requiring it.

A woman caller does not remove her gloves or veil, or even her wrap, unless it is a heavy one. But rubbers and umbrella and any heavy outer garment should be left in the hall.

For a man, formal politeness permits the carrying of both hat and stick into the drawing-room. But this rule is to-day more honored in the breach than in the observance. And, too, the right hand at least is usually ungloved. The hat and stick, when carried, are held in the left hand, and should be retained throughout the call, though it is permissible to put them down on the floor beside one, for[44] greater convenience when taking refreshments.

When the day at home is of a formal sort, the women do not exchange kisses in greeting, and the gloves are not taken off even when tea is drunk.




VISITING-CARDS are of three sizes, which remain practically the same year after year. The largest is that used by matrons, while that of the unmarried woman is a very little smaller, and that of the man much smaller. The present style as to materials favors a polished bristol board that is white and substantial without being too heavy. This should be printed from an engraved plate in black ink. The lettering may be a running script or old English.

Under no circumstances should a woman’s card carry any prefix other than Mrs. or Miss, but one or the other of these invariably appears. This rule does not apply in the case of professional women who may wish a distinctive card for business purposes, with its prefix of Dr. or Rev. Such[46] a card would also carry the address in the lower right-hand corner and perhaps office-hours in the lower left-hand corner. But even the professional woman requires the plainer form of card for social purposes.

There is a tendency at present to give the name in full on the card. For example, Mrs. John James Smith, or Miss Maude MacArthur.

It is permissible for the senior matron of a family to use only the family name on her card with the prefix: for example, Mrs. Fuller. It is more common, however, to omit the Christian name of an eldest daughter who is unmarried: Miss Fuller. The other daughters require the Christian name on their cards: Miss Mary Fuller, Miss Gladys Fuller.

The tendency in this country is strongly against the omission of the name in either of the above cases. Although it is perfectly correct as a social usage, it is opposed to the spirit of our institutions.

There is some variation in the use of the[47] name on the card in the case of a widow. It is within the woman’s choice whether she will continue to use the Christian name of her husband on the card, or will put her own in place of it. In other words, she may use the same cards after the death of her husband as before if she prefers, or she may follow the Mrs. with her own Christian name. A common form to-day gives the woman’s Christian name and the surname to which she was born and finally the surname of her husband. A present vogue permits also the use of only the two surnames, without the Christian name. Thus, Mary Brown marries James Robinson. The husband dies and the widow changes her visiting-cards, which have read, Mrs. James Robinson, so that they now read, Mrs. Mary Robinson. Then presently she grows ambitious socially and has her cards changed to read, Mrs. Mary Brown Robinson. Soon, she seizes on a newer style, and again changes her cards in accordance with it to read, Mrs. Brown Robinson.


It should be noted that the variations in cards practised by widows are used also by divorced women. And when a divorcée resumes her maiden name she properly uses with it the prefix Mrs., not Miss.

As a matter of strict propriety, a girl during her first social season does not formally use an individual card. Her name appears below that of her mother in the same lettering. When making calls unaccompanied by her mother, the latter’s name is crossed out with a pencil mark.

Where two daughters of nearly the same age are concerned, both are included on the mother’s card by the words The Misses, followed by the family name.

The above details are applied especially to a débutante in the first season. Afterward, a young woman uses her own individual card when calling alone. But this card should not carry on it the day at home. The at-home statement appears on the mother’s individual card. It is given also on the card combining the[49] names of mother and daughter. The combination card may with correctness be frequently used in appropriate circumstances until the daughter’s marriage.

The notice of the day at home is placed in the lower left-hand corner of the card. Only the day of the week is given, or with such qualification as may be required if the at-home day is not of weekly recurrence. The hours should not be specified unless they are a distinct variation from the customary time, between three and six. In addition, a time limit to the at homes may be specified. Thus, Fridays until March. Of course, the beginning is set for any individual by reception of the card.

A married woman finds frequent use for a card in combination with her husband, though this by no means takes the place of her individual cards, and, while it bears the address in the lower right-hand corner, does not usually give the at-home day. This card may properly be used for those[50] formal occasions in which her husband is concerned. For example, it may fittingly accompany a gift from husband and wife. It serves also for announcing a marriage with the residence of the bridal couple.

A man’s visiting-card always carries the prefix Mr. The single exception to this is when Jr. follows the name. The name is commonly given in full, but it is permissible to use only the initial of the middle name. It is strictly proper for the male head of a family to use only the family name on his card, preceded by Mr. Thus, the head of the Smiths—could he be located—might use on his visiting-card merely Mr. Smith, instead of Mr. John Smith.

The home address appears in the lower right-hand corner of the card, and a bachelor may add also the name of a club in the lower left-hand corner. The business address, of course, should never appear on the card used for social purposes. Likewise, a day at home should not be given[51] by a bachelor even though he may entertain regularly.

It is a safe rule to avoid titles on the visiting-cards of men as of women. The only exceptions are in instances little likely to concern the average reader of this book. Such instances are afforded by the President of the United States, the Vice-President, Ambassadors, the higher Judiciary, Army and Navy Officers, clergymen and physicians. The custom in the army, however, forbids any prefix except plain Mr. to an officer below the rank of Captain.

In the case of all officers the nature of his command is properly stated in a lower corner of the card.

Lawyers and physicians should have only the home address on the card used for social purposes. Another card with the business address should be used for business purposes. But Dr. is properly used by the physician in place of Mr. on his visiting-cards. Likewise, a clergyman uses Reverend, or its abbreviation Rev.,[52] on all his cards, which are commonly identical for both social and professional uses.

The letters indicative of degrees are not given after the name on the visiting-card, though a single exception is sometimes made by clergymen who omit Rev. before their names and, in lieu of it, use D.D. following the name.

When it becomes necessary, for any reason, to write one’s name on a visiting-card, the prefix Mr. should be given, following the ordinary form of the engraved card.

Care should be taken in the case of mourning-cards to avoid a too ostentatious parade of grief by an unduly broad margin of black. Somewhat less than a half inch is permissible for a widow’s card, and, after the first year, it is well to have this width reduced. Often, other reductions in the size of the border are made at intervals of six months, as long as the period of mourning continues.

The card of a widower must carry a border proportionately narrower, as its[53] size is smaller than a woman’s card, but the decrease in width is made after the same manner.

When a woman elects to remain in mourning permanently, the narrow black border may be retained throughout her lifetime.

It is not customary to make variations in the mourning border for the commemoration of persons other than husband or wife. For these, a fitting width is about a twelfth part of an inch, which remains the same throughout the period of mourning.

When a call is made on a day at home, the card or cards are commonly left in the hall on a tray placed for that purpose. A married woman calling on the at-home day of another married woman for the first time in the season leaves her own card and two of her husband’s cards. But in later calls on the at-home day she leaves her card and the two cards of her husband’s only when the call acknowledges[54] entertainment offered to them by the hostess.

There has been considerable simplification in recent years as to the leaving of cards. They are no longer weirdly bent in sign of delivery in person, and a smaller number are used. Thus, though the hostess referred to above may have unmarried daughters receiving with her, cards for them need not be left. But the presence of a married daughter or a friend formally assisting in the reception of the guests requires the leaving of a card.

A woman leaves no cards for the men of the family where she visits.

It is the business of the wife to fulfill her husband’s formal social duties by leaving his cards with hers whenever entertainment should be acknowledged.

Where two spinsters share a residence, a woman caller, the first time in the season, should leave two of her cards, and also, if she is a married woman, two of her husband’s. So, too, a card should be left for[55] a daughter or sister who is hostess of the house, even though she may be unmarried.

When an unmarried girl uses her individual card, she should follow the procedure indicated for the matron in the use of hers. Or she may use the combination card of her mother and herself as already described above.

A call on a mother and daughter who are out requires the leaving of two cards. The same procedure is necessary in the case of a hostess who has a friend staying with her. Likewise, a call made on a friend who is a guest in another’s house demands the leaving of two cards. This rule applies in the case of a man as well as of a woman. It should be observed that two cards are deemed sufficient in most cases. Where, however, the hostess has a guest staying with her and also daughters of her own, three cards are to be left.

A man wishing to call on a particular woman must be punctilious in leaving cards[56] not only for the particular one in whom he is interested, but also for the mother or chaperon, and still a third for the host. But, if a call is made on a woman on her at-home day, no card need be left, unless the call is in acknowledgment of entertainment. In the latter case, a single card is left for the host. It is advisable, however, that in his first call he should leave a card for convenience in the matter of address.

It is permissible on certain occasions to leave visiting-cards with the servant at the door, or to send them through the mail or by a messenger, instead of making the call in person. Sometimes a woman who is owing a call thus sends her card along with an invitation, as for luncheon or dinner. The invitation is considered to justify the merely formal matter of the card. So, too, a person receiving an invitation from a hostess who is a stranger must, if the invitation is declined, leave cards within two weeks after the date of the entertainment.[57] An invalid may send cards through the post in acknowledgment of calls of inquiry, and a woman in mourning is able to fulfill her obligations in the same manner. Cards are formally left by all who receive invitations to a church wedding, and the requirement is the same for those to whom an announcement of the marriage is sent. Such cards are demanded of men and women both, to be left for the mother of the bride within a fortnight after the ceremony. Cards are left within a proper time after any form of entertainment to which the members of a club are invited, though there may be no other social acquaintance with the hostess. In calls of condolence or inquiry, cards are always left. They may be used also, as hereinbefore stated, to announce a prolonged absence or a change of address.

When cards are left in person, they are delivered to the servant at the door. One or two or three are to be left according to the circumstances. The caller should[58] tell the servant the persons for whom the cards are designed.

Good taste dictates that calls of inquiry concerning the condition of a sick person should be made in person. Cards should be left at the time of such calls, except in the case of intimates. The cards should not be mailed or sent by messenger.

Acknowledgment of cards of condolence are made after a funeral by a large black-edged card of thanks, which should be sent within a month. Such cards are usually merely printed, not engraved. The wording should be of the simplest.

Mrs. Jack Robinson

returns thanks to


for her kind sympathy

The address of the one sending the card should appear at the bottom.

The form is varied according to circumstances. Thus:


Mrs. Montgomery James and Family
return thanks for your kind sympathy

Some persons prefer to leave their visiting-cards with the mourning border on those to whom acknowledgment is due, instead of sending the special card by mail. Personal calls, however, are not made by those in mourning within three months at least of the time of the funeral. If earlier acknowledgment is to be made, the visiting-card with mourning-border may be sent by mail within a few weeks. A word of thanks should be written on the card. For example:

With grateful appreciation of your sympathy

The use of P.p.c. cards has already been described in the chapter on calls. It should be added that they are convenient when one is leaving on short notice without time to pay in person all calls due. The P.p.c. card involves no duty of acknowledgment on the part of its recipient.


A woman temporarily stopping in any place sends cards containing her address to any acquaintances she may have there. Her ordinary visiting-card serves the purpose, with a pencil line drawn through the engraved address and the temporary one written above it. But a man, in the same circumstances, makes his calls in person.

The new-born infant embarks on its social career by means of the card. The birth of a child is made known to the mother’s social list by mailing the mother’s card, which has tied to it by a strip of white satin ribbon a card only a quarter as large carrying the full name of the baby. In this case, the prefix Mr. or Miss is omitted, but the date of birth appears in a lower corner. The recipients of these cards are required to call with inquiry as to the health of the senders, and to leave their cards in return. Persons residing at a distance may post their cards of acknowledgment, with a penciled phrase of congratulation.




FORMAL INVITATIONS to dinner should be sent between five and ten days before the date. A hostess may use her own discretion as to whether she will write the invitations by hand or use an engraved form. The wording is the same in either case.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Peck

request the pleasure of


company at dinner



401 Armstrong Street

The engraved form should be printed on a large, heavy piece of bristol board in old[62] English or block type, or in script. When the dinner has a guest of honor, notice of the fact may be given by a line across the bottom of the invitation:

To meet Captain Arthur Shayne

Or a special small card may be inclosed with the invitation, on which is engraved a similar phrase.

When the affair is of extraordinary importance, the form of invitation may dignify the purpose by announcing it at the outset.

To meet

The Bishop of Albany

Mr. and Mrs. William Astor

request the pleasure of


company at dinner



401 Armstrong Street


For dinners to which only a small number of persons are invited and these mutually acquainted, the formal mode of invitation is not required. A simple note is sufficient.

31 Hamilton Place,
March 7th, 1919

My Dear Mrs. Robinson:

Will you and Mr. Robinson, if disengaged, give us the pleasure of your company at dinner on Friday the thirteenth, at half-past seven o’clock?

Yours sincerely,
Edith MacArthur

This form may be varied according to the taste of the writer and the degree of intimacy with the person to whom the invitation is sent.

When it becomes necessary to invite some one to take the place of a guest who is unable to be present, this late invitation should not be of the formal sort, but[64] should be contained in a note frankly explaining the circumstances. Such invitations, of course, are never made to merely formal acquaintances.

The custom formerly prevailed of writing the initials R.s.v.p., on the dinner invitations, the initials of the French words, répondez, s’il vous plaît (reply if you please). But this usage has lost favor.

An invitation to dinner demands an immediate answer, either accepting or declining. The invitation cannot be accepted conditionally, nor can the decision be delayed. The form of reply should be as simple as the form of the invitation.

17 North Street

April 30th, 1919

Mr. and Mrs. Sloan Potter

accept with pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. John Morehouse’s

invitation to dinner

Tuesday evening, May the sixth

at half-past seven


For a declination, the following form may be used:

17 North Street

April 30, 1919

Mr. and Mrs. Sloan Potter

regret that their absence from the city

must prevent their acceptance of

Mr. and Mrs. John Morehouse’s

invitation to dinner on

Tuesday evening, May the sixth

at half-past seven

The invitation in the form of a note is answered similarly by a note. Thus:

42 Chestnut Street
April 30, 1919

My Dear Mrs. Morehouse:

It is with much pleasure that I accept your kind invitation to dinner on Tuesday evening, the sixth, at half-past seven o’clock.

Yours sincerely,
Helen Potter


A declination should state a courteous reason.

All such answers are addressed to the hostess alone. If she is married the husband is, nevertheless, omitted from the address.

The reply to an informal invitation should always be correspondingly informal.

For a formal dinner, there should be an even number of guests, eight or ten, or more, with the sexes evenly divided.

Either a round or square table will serve, but it should be large enough to accommodate all the party without crowding.

A pad should cover the table. The white cloth over this should be so large that the corners reach nearly to the floor.

A folded napkin is placed on each plate, with a roll or piece of bread laid within it. Three forks are laid to the left of the plate, with prongs up. Two steel knives are to the right of the plate, and then a silver knife, the edge of each to the left. A soup spoon follows the silver knife, and then[67] an oyster fork. Other utensils are sometimes added, but are not necessary.

A goblet for water is placed before the knives. With it are grouped whatever wine glasses may be required. A small card lying on the napkin carries the name of the guest to be seated here.

When dinner is announced, the host offers his arm to the woman who is to sit on his right, and leads the way to the dining-room. Already, in welcoming the guests, the hostess has made known the dinner-partners, introducing them when necessary. These now follow in pairs to the dining-room. The hostess brings up the rear. The guests find their places by the cards.

The hostess does not rise in greeting a late arrival, even a woman. But the host does, and sees to the seating of the laggard.

It has long been the custom for the ladies to leave the dining-room after the fruit course, and to have coffee served in the drawing-room. In such case, the men[68] stand until the women have passed out. Afterward, they seat themselves where they please, and smoking is permitted. The present-day tendency, however, is toward lessening the time of this separation and often doing away with it altogether, especially at less formal dinners, which otherwise follow an essentially identical routine.

Both host and hostess must say farewell, standing, with a handclasp, to each guest.

As for the guest, his first duty is to arrive exactly on time. Fifteen minutes of delay is the limit.

On ceremonious occasions, the hostess writes a lady’s name on a card, and places it in an envelope. This is given to the male guest on his arrival by a servant, and from it he learns the identity of the one he is to take in to dinner. When the dinner is announced, he offers his arm, and escorts the woman into the dining-room, where he pulls out her chair, and stands until she is seated.

It is permissible for dinner-partners,[69] after the opening courses, to give some attention to their other immediate neighbors.

A guest is free to leave at any time after the conclusion of the dinner. Usually, an hour is long enough to remain after the meal is ended.

In taking leave, the guest must express a courteous appreciation of the hospitality that has been extended.

“I am under deep obligation to you, Mrs. Johnson, for a most delightful evening.”

This, or any similar pleasant phrases of gratitude, will serve. The words of appreciation should be particularly addressed to the hostess always.

Evening dress is required for all guests at a formal dinner. For men, the regulation swallow-tail is imperative. The wearing of a dinner-jacket is not allowable on any occasion of ceremony.




GARDEN-PARTIES are probably destined to grow in popularity in this century, for they offer one of the simplest and most pleasant forms of entertainment during those seasons when the outdoors is attractive.

For such an affair, the hostess sends out invitations about ten days beforehand. These may be engraved on white bristol board, in which case either one of two forms is permissible.

Mrs. Melville Stratton

At Home

Friday afternoon, April third

from four until seven o’clock

Garden-Party          Nine Park Square



Mrs. Melville Stratton

requests the pleasure of


company on Friday afternoon

April third

from four until seven o’clock

Garden-Party        Nine Park Square

If less pretentiousness is preferred for the occasion, the hostess may merely use a visiting-card. Below her name she writes:

Garden-Party, April third, four to
seven o’clock.

Still a third method of issuing the invitations is by means of a short note, written in the first person.

The formal engraved invitation demands a prompt reply, written in the third person. An acceptance might properly take this mode of expression:


Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Brewster

accept with pleasure

Mrs. Stratton’s kind invitation

for April third.

Thirty Abernethey Row

May twenty-fifth, 1919

A refusal might be in the following form:

Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Brewster

regret that a previous engagement

prevents their acceptance

of Mrs. Stratton’s kind invitation

for April third

Thirty Abernethey Row

May twenty-fifth, 1919

When the invitation is by means of the visiting-card, an answer is not obligatory. Yet, it is well to acknowledge this form of invitation, also, by sending a short note written in the first person, either accepting or refusing.

Of course, when the invitation itself[73] takes the form of a note, the answer should follow the same style.

It is part of the duty of the hostess to put her house in order, as well as the grounds. The guests on arriving may, in many cases, go within before greeting the hostess, to lay aside wraps or heavy veils. Moreover, weather conditions may make it necessary to seek shelter indoors. It is often convenient also to have the refreshments set out on the porch. These should include hot and cold tea, punch or claret-cup, cakes, sandwiches, salads, fruits in season, and the like, which are partaken of by the guests according to their pleasure.

Or a marquée may shelter the refreshments—a tent roof set up at any desired place on the lawn.

The hostess receives her guests on the lawn. She wears an afternoon gown, suitable for the season, and a hat. But, if she prefers, she may leave off the hat, and use a parasol in its stead.

The women guests, too, wear their most[74] effective afternoon gowns and also hats and veils and gloves, which are not taken off.

The men may wear frock or morning coats and silk hats, and this garb is common at garden-parties in England. In this country, however, more comfortable clothes are popular, and flannels, or other fabrics of light material, are favored.

Guests leave their cards on a tray provided for that purpose in the hallway of the house. The requirements concerning cards have already been fully explained in the chapters on cards and at homes.

After greeting the hostess, a guest must remain for at least twenty minutes, and may properly continue on throughout the whole afternoon.

Discretion should be used in the matter of saying farewell. It should be omitted if the hostess is occupied. If she is free, good-bye may be spoken, and with it a phrase in appreciation of the hospitality.




THE HOUSE-PARTY is made up of any number of guests, from half a dozen to a score, and may be merely for a few days or for any desired length of time. But, whatever is to be the length of the guest’s stay, it should be specifically stated in the invitation. It is a common saying that an invitation that sets no time for the visit is no invitation at all, and the saying is quite true.

So, in writing her invitation, a hostess mentions the exact day for the guest’s arrival, and, as well, the exact day of departure. The invitation is always a note written in the first person. The following may serve as an illustration:


The Oaks, Hyde Park.
April 10, 1919.

Dear Mrs. Ashland:

I should be delighted to have you come to us for the next week-end, and I hope that there is no previous engagement to prevent your giving us this pleasure.

The best train for you to take from the city is the one leaving at three in the afternoon. Mr. Lawrence will meet this at the station here on Friday.

In eager anticipation of your visit, believe me,

Cordially yours,
Ella Lawrence

The guest’s answer to the invitation must be of the promptest, whether it accepts or rejects the proposal of a visit. It should, of course, be written in the first person. The wording is a matter for the individual taste, and the form following is offered merely as a suggestion.


47 Tremont St.,
New York.

April 11, 1919.
Dear Mrs. Lawrence:

I am more pleased than I can tell you to receive your kind invitation, since there is nothing to prevent my acceptance of it. I shall take the three o’clock train on Friday afternoon for Hyde Park, and I am looking forward very eagerly to being with you so soon.

Yours sincerely,
Roberta Ashland

The declination of the invitation should contain some fitting expression of regret, and an explanation as to the causes that render an acceptance impossible.

It is imperative that a girl should be met at the station by her host in person, or, if convenient, preferably by the hostess, or perhaps by both. But this attention is not obligatory in the case of a married[78] couple or with a bachelor guest. But these, too, should be met at the station by a servant if not by the host, and duly conveyed to the house where they are to be entertained.

The guest on arrival should be welcomed at the entrance by the hostess, if she has not been to the station, and after the greetings she escorts the guest, if this is a woman, to the chamber she is to occupy, and there leaves her to freshen herself after the journey.

When the luggage is brought in, a competent maid will unpack it and distribute the contents through the drawers of the bureau and in the closet, and render such other services as may be required. A less competent maid can at least unstrap the luggage, remove trays, and help in the disposal of the contents.

In the case of a man, after being greeted by his hostess, he is conducted to his room by the host.

The wardrobe requirements for the visitor[79] at a house-party are regulated by the probable nature of the entertainment that will be provided, by the season of the year, and by the particular social status of the hosts. No hard-and-fast rule can be given. Thus, where a woman visits a country house for a few days in the summer, she needs no larger wardrobe than can be carried in the tiniest of trunks, suitcase and hat-box. The hat used for traveling will serve her also on occasion during the visit, but she will need in addition a sport-hat for tramping or out-door games and another hat of sufficient elegance for wear at a lawn party or wherever more elaborate dress is necessary. The frocks should follow the lines thus indicated, and there should be a sufficiency of dainty waists and footgear besides the inevitable decolleté gowns for evening wear.

For the man, also, evening clothes are essential, and he should be provided with flannels, besides the business suit in which he travels. For winter, the change[80] in season would demand a corresponding change in the matter of dress, especially for out of doors.

The hostess plans sufficient entertainment for her guests, but, if she is discreet, she does not plan too many things. It is customary to leave the mornings to the devices of the guests, to be occupied by them according to their individual pleasure. Where a morning start is required on some expedition, such as a picnic, the hostess is likely to leave the evening free from any special entertainment.

It is the duty of the guest to conform to the habits of the household. If the party assembles together for breakfast, he or she must make one of the number though the hour may be too early or too late for personal convenience. Likewise, the guest should accept such disposal of his or her time as the hostess may choose to make, even when the preference would be quite otherwise. The tactful hostess, of course, studies the likes and dislikes of her guests,[81] and seeks to reconcile her hospitality so far as possible to their prejudices.

It is customary to give tips on leaving a house-party to those servants with whom the guest has been brought more closely in contact. The maid who has attended to the room should receive a dollar from the visitor for a few days; the butler, if there is one, should receive a dollar and a half. The amount for the chauffeur should be regulated to some extent by his personal service in the guest’s behalf. Where there has been none, a dollar is sufficient.

These figures are applicable in the cases of unmarried women and bachelors, although the tendency of the latter is to give more. The sums named, however, are regarded as acceptable by the servants themselves. Naturally, they enjoy the lavish, even prodigal tips given by certain persons of wealth, who are more ostentatious than discreet. Such indiscretions, however, need not set up a false standard for other guests.


In the case of a husband and wife, the tips to maid and butler, etc., should be increased. It is usual for the wife to tip the female servants, while the husband satisfies those of his own sex. When the care of the guest’s shoes devolves on a house-boy, he, too, should be remembered with a half-dollar.

The male guests frequently give a tip of a dollar or more to the cook.

It is the duty of the hostess in the case of a woman visitor to bid her farewell in person, even if this should necessitate arising at an unpleasantly early hour. But in the case of a man’s leaving thus early, it suffices if she makes her farewell the night before. It then becomes the duty of the host to attend on the guest for the breakfast and departure.

In about a week after such a visit, the guest should write a note to the hostess, expressing warm appreciation of the hospitality thus enjoyed. It is also permissible for the guest to send a gift that is not[83] too costly, such as a book, or any simple thing that may serve as a token of remembrance. But this is in no wise obligatory, and, in fact, good taste is likely to prevent the bestowal of such a gift in most cases. There could hardly be anything less satisfactory to a hostess than a string of such souvenirs from her whilom guests.

Where the visit is a very short one, less than two days, it is customary to dispense with the bread-and-butter letter.




SIMPLICITY SHOULD always characterize good manners, and this truth applies especially in the matter of introductions. There should be no attempt at fine phrases.

“Mrs. Smith, let me present Mr. Jones.”

It is to be noted that the names of both persons concerned are given. They should be spoken with entire distinctness.

In this form, a man is presented to a woman, and this is the rule to be generally observed. It is admissible for the introduction to contain an expression of the man’s wish for it.

“Mrs. Smith, Mr. Jones desires to be presented to you.”


Slight variations in the phrasing of these forms are permitted. For example, after saying, “Mrs. Smith, let me present Mr. Jones,” it is proper to add some such phrase as, “He is very anxious to meet you.”

It is always a mark of courtesy to request a lady’s permission in advance of the actual introduction. When introductions are to be made between a woman, who is a newcomer, and an assembly of guests, the newcomer is given the formal distinction of receiving the introductions.

“Miss Brown, let me present Mrs. Robinson, Miss Robinson, Miss Helen Robinson, Mr. Jones, Mr. Truesdale.”

Often, the form of introduction is curtailed, especially when the company is numerous. In such case, merely the names are spoken, that of the stranger having first place.

“Miss Brown—Mrs. Robinson, Miss Robinson, Miss Helen Robinson, Mr. Jones, Mr. Truesdale.”


Care must be taken to remember that the person to whom the introduction is made has the place of honor. It is on this account that the rule of proper procedure requires the presentation of a man to a woman, and always the presentation of the inferior to the superior, although the distinction is usually purely theoretical. For example, an unmarried woman should be presented to a matron. So, the younger person should be presented to his or her elders; the ordinary person should be presented to the person of distinction. Where men or women are of nearly equal age or station, it is safer not to discriminate between them by presenting one to the other. It is enough merely to name them.

“Mr. Smith, Mr. Robinson.” Or: “Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Brown.”

It is a part of good tact on the part of a host or hostess in making introductions to add a few words of explanation as to some particular interest of each, which may be[87] of assistance to them at the beginning of their conversation.

In every instance, the greatest care should be taken by the person making an introduction to pronounce both names with the utmost clearness. Nothing is more annoying than an indistinct mumble that leaves the hearers uninformed.

When, for any reason, one fails to understand a stranger’s name at the time of introduction, it is permissible to ask it.

“Pardon me, but I did not understand the name.”

There are some variations that should be noted as to the manner of acknowledging an introduction. In her own home, a woman should offer her hand, while saying, “Mrs. Smith, I am very glad to meet you,” or any similar phrase of cordial greeting. But such a cordial phrase is not to be used by a woman when a man is presented to her, unless she is the hostess. A man, on the contrary, on receiving his introduction[88] to a lady, should express his appreciation in a courteous sentence.

“I am very glad to meet you, Miss Robinson.”

The tendency to-day is toward elimination of handshaking by women on the occasion of an introduction, except in the case of a hostess. A slight bow of the head, a smile and the repetition of the stranger’s name are deemed enough. But many women still prefer a less formal manner, and give their hand when an introduction is made.

It is the duty of a hostess to stand up when receiving an introduction. This applies equally whether the stranger is a man or a woman. But a woman other than the hostess, when a member of a group, remains seated during any introduction to her unless it is of one her superior in age or station, whom she should honor by rising. Otherwise, it is preferable for a woman to stand in acknowledging an introduction of one of her own sex, though[89] she should remain seated when a man is presented to her.

In England, it is usual to omit introductions among those gathered in the same house, and guests are expected to conduct themselves as acquaintances without this formality. In our country, however, the custom has not prevailed to any considerable extent, and it is not ordinarily proper for strangers to address each other without having been introduced, even though they are fellow-guests.

A hostess should introduce all her guests one to another at ordinary dinner-parties, luncheons, or breakfasts. But, in the case of very large dinner-parties, she is required only to introduce those who are to be partners at table, though it is advisable for her to make other introductions to any extent convenient. At the table, however, introductions should be carefully avoided. If the women leave the table before the men, other introductions may be made among them in the drawing-room. The men, too,[90] on returning to the drawing-room may be presented to such women as they have not already met.

When a hostess receives at home, she should introduce each new arrival to some of the guests who are near by. If she has an assistant in receiving, each guest should be presented. On formal occasions, it is not her duty to go about among the guests in order to introduce them.

The hostess at a large ball follows a similar course of conduct. But in less formal affairs she should be at pains to see that no guest is neglected, and that each, as far as possible, has a due share in the dancing.

It is especially desirable on all formal occasions, such as large balls for example, that a man wishing to present a friend to a woman should first privately ask her permission.

Introductions of a very casual sort should never be taken too seriously. This applies particularly to those made in a public[91] place, such as the street, when a person accompanied by a friend meets an acquaintance, who is a stranger to that friend, and there is a pause for a brief chat. Usually, there is no occasion for an introduction under these circumstances, and if one is made it may be afterward ignored. As a matter of fact, only a rather extensive conversation between the acquaintances would justify an introduction. Perfunctory introductions of those temporarily associated in a game on the tennis court, or the like, are to be regarded as equally casual, and not of a sort necessitating subsequent recognition.

Introductions may be formally made by letter. In such case, the letter should deal exclusively with the introduction. There is no set form, but the following will serve as a sufficient guide, to be varied according to personal inclination:


Burlington, Vermont.
June 1, 1919.
My dear Mrs. Smith:

It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you my friend, Miss Truesdale, who is about to visit relatives in your city. I shall deeply appreciate any courtesy you may show her.

With kindest regards to yourself and Mr. Smith, I am,

Yours sincerely,
Mabel Potter

A similar form will suffice for the introduction of a man, whether to another man or to a woman. Discretion should be exercised always in the granting of letters of introduction, and it is well to write a separate letter giving details concerning the person thus introduced. The letter of introduction itself should be placed in an addressed envelope, which is left unsealed,[93] to be presented in person by the one to be introduced.

Instead of a letter, a common practise uses the visiting-card of the person making the introduction. In such case, a line is written across the top of the card.

Introducing Mr. Russell Elliot

This card also is enclosed within its proper envelope, duly addressed, but unsealed, and delivered to the person for whose benefit it is given.

It is common for a man to call at the residence of the person to whom the introduction is addressed, and there give the envelope, still unsealed, to the servant, together with his own card. In the absence of the host or hostess, the caller places his own card inside the envelope, which is then sealed, and left. A woman never follows this procedure. She places her card in the envelope containing the introduction, which is then sealed, and dropped in the post for delivery.


One receiving such a letter of introduction, whether man or woman, is expected, if the bearer is a woman, to call on her within two days’ time, and to follow this up with some sort of hospitable entertainment. If, for any imperative reason, a call is impossible, a letter should be written in explanation.

The like procedure is followed when both parties are men. But when a man presents such a letter of introduction to a woman, she does not, of course, call upon him, but writes to extend her hospitable offers.




THE MOST TROUBLESOME detail in letter-writing is the matter of address. It should be noted that there is a distinction between Dear and My dear. In our country, the more formal style is with the pronoun, while the pronoun is omitted in writing to friends. A letter to a mere acquaintance begins with the words, My dear ............................. But the form for an intimate is simply Dear .............................

The usual address for business purposes and to those with whom no social relations are established is Dear Sir. The plural is used in addressing firms, Dear Sirs, or the one word Gentlemen, may be employed.

In addressing a man with whom social relations are established, the surname is[96] used, preceded by Dear or My dear, according to the degree of intimacy. My dear Mr. Hudson; Dear Mr. Grant.

A woman who is a stranger may be addressed either as Madam or Dear Madam, whether she be married or unmarried. The form “Dear Miss” is to be avoided under all circumstances.

For the woman with whom the writer is formally acquainted, the address is: My dear Mrs. .............................., if she is married, and My dear Miss ............................, if she is unmarried. When the person is a friend, she should be addressed: Dear Mrs. ................, if she is a married woman, and Dear Miss ............................, if she is unmarried.

The full name should be signed to formal letters. The married woman should use her own Christian name, not her husband’s with the Mrs. prefixed. But, in business communications to strangers, she may very properly give her husband’s name with the prefix Mrs., below her usual signature, and inclosed in parenthesis.


Similarly, for the sake of clearness, a business letter by an unmarried woman may have Miss in parenthesis before the name.

Envelopes should be addressed to the recipient with the full name and necessary prefix—-Mr., Mrs., or Miss.

The Mr., however, must be omitted if Esq. is written after the name. The English custom limits the use of Esquire to those who are technically gentlemen. For example, Esq. is placed after the name in addressing a barrister, but it must not be used in writing to a tradesman, who is given only the prefix Mr.

The prefix Mr. is used when Junior or Senior is indicated after the name by an abbreviation. In such case, Esq. must never be written.

It must be noted also that in the case of addresses, as with cards, to which attention has already been given, the husband’s title must not be given to the wife. Mrs. Colonel, Mrs. Doctor, Mrs. Professor, and the like,[98] are barbarisms, which are not tolerated in America or England. The Germans, however, use them.

The phrase before the signature to a letter varies according to the circumstances, and especially according to the individual taste. Thus, in concluding a very formal communication, it is quite proper to use the old-fashioned wording, I am, my dear Madam, your obedient servant. An ordinary convenient form that covers a wide field is, I remain, Yours sincerely, or Yours faithfully, or Yours cordially, writing I remain on one line, and the Yours, etc., on the line below. Thus:

I remain,
Yours sincerely,

Yours truly, or Very truly yours, is best reserved for business communications. Yours respectfully is applicable for business communications, and also for letters addressed to superiors, and for use generally as a rather meaningless style.

Men of exalted position are commonly[99] addressed as Sir without any qualifying word. And the form in ending is, I have, Sir, the honor to remain Your most obedient servantYour, etc., forming a separate line.

A letter of a social sort would begin, My dear Mr. President.

The like form would suffice for the vice-president, except for a letter of social character, when he should be addressed by name, My dear Mr. .........................

A justice of the supreme court, a senator, a member of the house of representatives, a cabinet officer, the governor of a state, etc., all have the same formal Sir as the address and the corresponding phrase in conclusion. But there is variation in the address when the letter is of social import. The justice may be addressed My dear Justice ................., or Dear Mr. Justice ..................

The senator is addressed My dear Senator ........................ The representative in congress is addressed My dear Mr. .................


On the envelope, the forms are respectively Mr. Justice ..................., Senator ......................., Hon. .............. (for the congressman).

The social letter to a cabinet officer addresses him by name, My dear ................., and has on the envelope Hon. preceding the name and his official designation following it.

A governor is usually addressed My dear Governor ........................ And the envelope should have the title preceding the name.

In all cases except that of the President, the conclusion of a social letter is a simple form such as, I remain, Yours very sincerely.

A mayor is addressed either as Sir, or Your Honor, in formal communications, and as My dear Mayor ................. in social correspondence. The envelope properly gives him a full designation, His Honor the Mayor of ..................... The name follows, written on a lower line.

The form of address is the same for both[101] official and social letters in the case of a Roman Catholic archbishop: Most Reverend and Dear Sir. The conclusion should run: I have the honor to remain Your obedient servantYour, etc., being written on a lower line. The envelope carries The Most Reverend ......................., Archbishop of ...................

All letters to a cardinal begin Your Eminence. The conclusion is the same as to an archbishop. The envelope reads His Eminence Cardinal .........................

For a Roman Catholic bishop all letters begin Right Reverend and Dear Sir. The conclusion is that used for the preceding prelates. On the envelope: The Right Reverend .................., Bishop of ............

A Protestant bishop, also, is addressed Right Reverend and Dear Sir officially, but a social letter begins My dear Bishop ..................... The conclusion may take the form given for Roman Catholic dignitaries, but for social letters it is sufficient to write, I remain Yours sincerely. The[102] envelope reads: The Right Reverend ................, Bishop of .............................

Both priests and Protestant clergymen are officially addressed: Reverend and Dear Sir. But, in a social letter, the beginning is Dear Father .................., in the case of a priest; while the Protestant minister is addressed as Dear Mr. ........................, or Dear Doctor ...................., if he has such a title. The conclusion for either need be no more than: I remain, Yours very sincerely. The envelope bears, The Reverend .......................

The possession of degrees may be indicated by writing the proper initials after the name. Where the clergyman has the degree of Doctor, this is sometimes used as an abbreviation preceding the name—The Reverend Dr. ..........................




THE ETIQUETTE for a luncheon is essentially the same as that for a breakfast, which has already been described. But the luncheon at present enjoys a popularity that is distinctive in one respect: it serves conveniently very often as a function wholly for the entertainment of feminine guests.

The usual hour for a luncheon is from one to two o’clock. The invitations, unless the affair is to be quite informal, should be sent out ten days before the date set. As in the case of a breakfast, the invitation may be sent on a visiting-card, writing below the name:

Luncheon at one o’clock
April the fourth


For an especially formal affair, the invitation should be engraved on square white cards of large size, similar to those employed for dinner-invitations.

Mrs. George Vinton Thorne

requests the pleasure of


company at luncheon

on ..............................

at .......................... o’clock

Eleven Green Street

A note written in the first person may convey the invitation, if the hostess prefers this manner.

The acceptance or refusal of an invitation may be in the third person, following the examples given in the chapter on dinners, or it may be written as a note in the first person. In either case, the method used in the invitation itself must govern the style of the reply.

At the more formal luncheon, the menu[105] may be elaborate, with oysters, bouillon, fish, and other courses following to any desired extent, but care must be taken always that the general character of the viands served must not be oversubstantial. The meal should be of a distinctively lighter sort as compared with dinner.

The women guests usually wear their most effective frocks. Wraps are left in the cloak-room provided, or, if this is lacking, in the hall. The hats are not removed, but the veil is either pushed up out of the way, or removed, according to the wearer’s pleasure. The gloves are taken off after arrival at table, and left in the lap, covered by the napkin.

A guest should remain for at least half an hour after the completion of the meal, and from this minimum of time up to an hour or perhaps a little longer, according to the particular circumstances.

The farewell of each guest should, of course, contain some phrase expressing appreciation of the hospitality enjoyed.




THERE IS ROOM for so much variety in the expression of personal tastes as to the matter of mourning that hard-and-fast rules are of doubtful value. There is, however, some degree of exactness as to the dress suitable for widows, although, even in this connection, individual choice and the changes of fashion exert their influence to the display of differing modes.

The widow’s mourning may be divided into three periods, termed respectively first, second and third.

The first mourning includes the entire costume in black. Usually, the material of the dress is of worsted, with a trimming of crêpe. The black bonnet is of crêpe, and from it hangs a long veil, also of crêpe.[107] Formerly, these veils were of extreme length, reaching even to the hem of the gown. The tendency has been, however, toward shortening the veil, and the present fashion insists on only a moderate length. Another veil, worn over the face, was formerly both long and heavy, but the style has been modified, and at present it is of lighter texture and of much briefer proportions. The bonnet has white ruching within the front edge, and the gown is trimmed with sheer white cuffs, and a collar of the same material.

The gloves must be of dull black, and ornaments of dull jet, with a black-bordered handkerchief.

This first mourning should be worn for a full year. A change may then be made to second mourning, in which the dress may be of crêpe de chine or dull silk, with a hat carrying black chiffon, etc., and ornaments of dull jet.

The third mourning is assumed after another six months. In this white and[108] lilac are permitted to relieve the somberness of the attire. This mourning is worn for a period of six months, also, after which colors may be resumed.

It should be noted that the white ruche on the bonnet is the one distinctive feature of the first mourning that designates the wearer as a widow. A woman may wear exactly the same costume, with the exception of this white ruche on the bonnet, in the mourning for a parent, a child, a brother or a sister.

The period for wearing mourning in such case, and the changes in it, may follow the details given above for widows.

Mourning for a parent-in-law is black, with the crêpe omitted. This is worn for only a month, and is followed by any preferred combinations of black and white, relieved by lilac, for a fortnight or a little longer.

The mourning for close relatives worn by a young unmarried woman does not include the bonnet and veil. Instead, a[109] hat trimmed with crêpe is worn, and a black net veil over the face is trimmed with crêpe. After six months or a year, the crêpe is omitted from hat and veil, and also from the gown. Black and white and lilac are then deemed suitable. Usually, however, the older unmarried women wear the veil and bonnet of the first mourning, as do widows, but with the white ruche omitted.

Mourning is not usually adopted when the death is of relatives-in-law or of a grandparent.

Three months is ordinarily sufficient for mourning in the case of an uncle or aunt, and it does not include crêpe. Ornaments may be worn, though preferably of a very quiet sort.

In general, it is well to bear in mind that mourning should not be worn except for the members of one’s immediate family. Of course, the particular circumstances in each case must be a determining factor. For example, while mourning is not customarily[110] worn for a cousin, yet a girl who had made a home with such a relative might appropriately wear mourning as for her own mother.

Crêpe is not deemed suitable for girls not yet old enough for a formal entrance into society, and children should be spared the lugubrious trappings of woe in every case. But a girl about sixteen years of age, on the death of a member of the family, appropriately wears a black dress, relieved only by touches of white, and a black hat, with dull black ribbons. She should leave off jewelry, but she should not carry a handkerchief with black border.

The mourning for a widower is often divided into two periods. During the first, black is worn throughout in the costume, with white linen. The hat-band is of crêpe. The present tendency is to make this band much narrower than it was of yore. It is left off altogether after a year, or perhaps eight months, as the second mourning begins. The second mourning permits the[111] use of gray and white in the costume. A man’s mourning for a child, parent, brother or sister may continue for a full year, or it may be put off after six months according to his choice. The mourning includes a hat-band of crêpe. If a man wishes to wear mourning for a more distant relative, he may use the black and white and gray of the widower’s second period, but men ordinarily do not assume mourning for any except closest relations.

A mourning band on the sleeve is sometimes worn by men, but it is impossible to describe its significance from the standpoint of propriety, since it is worn equally for those most closely related and for those most distantly, without distinction, and since it is a custom derived originally from England, where it serves as a cheap method of providing mourning liveries for servants.

After the loss of a close relation, a woman pays no calls for six months. After that time, she may visit her intimates, but not on their at-home days. She may also attend[112] concerts and theater matinées and the like, in a very quiet way. After a year, she may appear at small dinners, and at the theater in the evening, and the like. But box parties and all the elaborate functions, such for example as balls, must not be resumed until the period of mourning has expired.

Elderly women are likely to prefer a mourning garb for the remainder of their lifetime, after the death of a husband. In such cases, after perhaps two years, the widow’s bonnet and veil are given up, and nun’s veiling is substituted. While the gown remains black, the crêpe is omitted from it, and the mourning handkerchief is no longer carried. Jewelry is worn, but not of an ostentatious kind.




THE MUSICALE is merely a formal at home where music is made a special feature of the entertainment. Throughout, the procedure is that of an at home, and the details are to be found in full in the chapter under that heading. The only formal difference is in the wording of the invitation, which makes mention of music as the feature.

The invitations are engraved, and may take either of the two usual forms, according to the choice of the hostess.


Mrs. George H. Baxter

requests the pleasure of



at a musicale

on Friday evening, May first

at half-past nine o’clock

Twenty-seven Maple Street

Or the at-home form may be used as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. George H. Baxter

At Home

Friday evening, May first

at half-past nine o’clock

Twenty-seven Maple Street


Such an affair in the evening is often of the most elaborate character, and is essentially a concert. But a musicale may be given with equal propriety in the afternoon. The form for engraved invitations[115] is precisely the same, with the single exception of the hours named, for the afternoon entertainment specifies the time as from four until seven o’clock.

For a less formal occasion, a hostess may extend her invitations by sending a visiting-card, on which she writes, below her name, Friday, May first, four to seven o’clock, and underneath this the single word Music. Or in place of the word Music, she may write To hear .............. adding the name of a particular performer.

The obligations of the guests follow in all respects those to which attention has been already given under the title “At Homes.” Thus, in the matter of costumes, the usage resembles that explained concerning correct garb for both afternoon and evening receptions in the earlier chapter.

It might be well to emphasize the fact that no direct reply is required for an invitation announcing that the hostess will be at home on a certain date. But the case is[116] quite otherwise when that form of invitation is employed which requests the pleasure of the guest’s company. This demands a prompt answer, whether of acceptance or of refusal, which should be couched in the third person. Thus:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sage Beckett

accept with pleasure

Mrs. Baxter’s kind invitation

for May first

Nineteen Wentworth Square

April twenty-first, 1919

Or, in the event of inability to accept, or disinclination, the answer should run as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sage Beckett

regret that a previous engagement

prevents their acceptance

of Mrs. Baxter’s kind invitation

for May first

Nineteen Wentworth Square

April twenty-first, 1919




A   SUFFICIENT FORM for an invitation to an opera party will be found in the chapter on the theater, which needs only a verbal change to specify the particular performance at the opera instead of at the playhouse. In general, also, the procedure suited to attendance at the theater is to be followed in connection with the opera. But there are certain differences that should be regarded.

The dress for the opera is more formal than for the theater, generally speaking. The man, for example, usually keeps his white gloves on. The woman, for her part, wears a gown that is sleeveless and decolleté, and displays jewels according to her means or taste. An aigrette takes the[118] place of the hat that may be worn to the theater. Nevertheless, it is quite permissible for a woman occupying a stall in the orchestra at the opera to wear a costume of the sort commonly seen at the theater.

Visiting at the opera is a distinctive feature, facilitated as it is by the number of boxes, so greatly in excess of those with which the theater is supplied. For it is with the boxes that this visiting is chiefly concerned, though it reaches to some extent to the orchestra stalls.

Between acts is the proper time for such calls, which are usually, but not exclusively, paid by men. A gentleman may call on a lady of his acquaintance in a box, though she is a guest of a host or hostess who is not known to him. In such case, the woman to whom he pays the visit must introduce him to her entertainer. But an introduction of the sort is merely formal, and entails no necessity of subsequent recognition by either party.

No more than five minutes, or even less,[119] should be given to such calls, but some discretion is permitted by the particular circumstances. Thus, where there are many coming and going, the time should be shorter than when there are few other visitors, or none. The call should never extend beyond the end of the intermission.

Since an opera box is equipped with a vestibule of its own, the women do not leave their wraps in the cloak-room, but wait until their arrival at the box, when they are taken off in the vestibule. Afterward, on entering the box, the chaperon and other older women precede the younger, and are offered the choice of seats. But they usually prefer the less conspicuous positions, and the chairs at the rail are given to the débutantes, or younger matrons. The exact arrangement is always a matter for the display of tact on the part of host or hostess.

Visiting among the stalls is necessarily more limited, but is practised to any extent rendered convenient by location.


In such visiting, the ordinary amenities of social intercourse are to be observed. The men, for example, must stand when a lady enters the box in which they are seated, and they should remain standing until her departure, or until she has taken a chair.




PRIVATE THEATRICALS are usually the feature of an evening function.

The form of invitation is exactly the same as for a musicale, with the one exception in substituting Theatricals at ten o’clock. The phrase appears thus in the at-home form of announcement. When the invitation requests the pleasure of the guest’s company, At Private Theatricals is preferred as the descriptive statement.

On occasions when the theatricals are to be followed by a dance, the word Dancing is added at the bottom of the card.

The letters R.s.v.p. are commonly employed in connection with such invitations, and their appearance on the card emphasizes the necessity of a written reply.




ALL DETAILS of the etiquette that has to do with receptions, whether they are held in the afternoon or in the evening, are carefully described in the chapter treating various forms of the at home.




A   GUEST in the home of another must not smoke unless invited to do so by host or hostess.

A man in the presence of a lady must not smoke unless he asks for, and receives, permission to do so.

A man should not smoke when walking with a woman in public.

A man must not converse while holding cigar, pipe, or cigarette in his mouth.




IN A FORMER generation, women hid their ankles, and gave brief glimpses of them only by accident or naughty design. It was then required of a gentleman that he should precede a lady in ascending stairs. To-day, fashion has cleared away all mystery concerning feminine ankles, and a gentleman is permitted to follow the lady as she mounts the stairs.




WHEN A MAN and woman walk together in the street, the man’s proper position is usually on the side toward the curb, and he maintains this place also when walking with two women. He should never station himself between them, unless under the informal circumstances of a country road, or the like.

In the day time, a man does not offer a woman his arm when they walk together, though of course he should give her the support of his hand under her elbow when such assistance is obviously required, as in mounting the steps of a car. But in the evening a man properly offers his arm to a woman when they are to walk together, and she lays her hand on his forearm. They should never hook arms.


When a man and woman who are acquainted with each other meet in the street, it is the woman’s place to extend recognition by a nod and smile, which latter varies from coldness to warmth according to her will. On receiving such recognition, for which in any formal acquaintance he must wait, the man raises his hat, and at the same time bows.

When a man is walking with a woman, he must salute in the same fashion any others that pass who recognize either himself or his companion, except that where the person is not an acquaintance of his own, he merely lifts his hat without bowing.

When a man encounters a woman on the street, and wishes to talk with her, he should not detain her, but with her permission should turn and walk beside her. The woman, however, is privileged thus to retain the man in conversation, but she should withdraw to one side, out of the way of passers-by.

In escorting a woman in a car, the man[127] should assist her to enter, and then follow. But in leaving, he precedes her and descends first, then turning to help her down.

Good sense must determine the precise conduct for propriety in various circumstances. Ordinarily, where a couple cannot well walk side by side, the man follows behind the woman. But where the way is difficult for any reason, he goes in advance—as, for example, when it becomes necessary to force the way through a crowd.

Some men make a point of standing uncovered throughout the length of any conversation with a woman in the street. This mode is not to be encouraged, especially in the inclement northern winter. Merely raising the hat at meeting and again at parting is quite sufficient.




DEPORTMENT AT TABLE is the most important single item in the total of good manners. Yet, the requirements are very simple—so simple indeed that there is little excuse for those who fail in them.

It should hardly be necessary to say that the position must be one of well-balanced erectness. A man’s hands should be kept in his lap when not busy. So of a woman’s—formerly. Of recent years, a new custom has crept in, and it is common to see a woman’s forearm or elbow resting at ease on the table.

The napkin is only partly unfolded, and laid across the lap. In the case of a woman, it covers her gloves, which she has taken off on seating herself. At the end of the[129] meal, the crumpled napkin is laid beside the plate. But, when making an extended stay with friends, the napkin is folded if the host and hostess fold theirs in preparation for use at another meal.

The knife is employed only for cutting purposes, being then held in the right hand. It is afterward put down, while the fork is transferred to the right hand for passing food to the mouth. When not in use both knife and fork are left on the plate. They should not be held in the hands, or laid down on the table. They are to remain on the plate also if it is sent for another helping. When eating is ended, knife and fork are laid together on the plate—parallel, points to the center, and the fork tines down.

The fork should be used throughout with the tines downward. It is only used spoon-fashion for small vegetables such as peas. The fork rather than a spoon should be used for eating ices, melons, and the like. It is used to fold lettuce and other[130] salad leaves, which must not be cut with a knife.

The knife is used only for cutting, and is afterward laid down on the plate.

Beverages in glasses or cups are tested by sipping from a spoon, which is then laid down. Afterward one drinks directly from the container. The spoon must never be allowed to stand in a cup or glass. For taking soup, the spoon is pushed forward, not drawn toward one. The soup plate is never tipped. The liquid must be taken into the mouth from the side of the spoon never from the end.

Boiled eggs are properly eaten with a spoon, of course, as are jellies, custards and the like, grape-fruit and various fruits served with cream, and cereals.

A finger-bowl is properly used on finishing a fruit course. A slight rinsing of the finger-tips suffices, after which they are wiped on the napkin.

Butter is not served at formal dinners.

At all other meals a special plate is laid[131] for bread and butter, and a small knife of silver for spreading the butter. The bread is broken with the fingers, a mouthful at a time and separately buttered. Cake is eaten either in the fingers or with a fork.

Cheese is cut into small pieces. Each piece is placed on a mouthful of bread or cracker, and then eaten from the fingers.

Apples, pears, etc., are quartered, peeled, cut in mouthfuls, and then eaten from the fingers. Smaller fruits with pits are eaten from the fingers. Each pit is taken from the mouth in the closed hand and deposited on the plate.

Asparagus is eaten with a fork. That part of the stalk not easily cut by the fork is left. But burr artichokes are eaten from the fingers a leaf at a time, after it has been dipped in the sauce. Only the heart demands the use of a fork.

Celery, olives and radishes are eaten from the fingers. So, also, are crystallized fruits, almonds and other nuts.


When leaving the table at the conclusion of a meal elsewhere than in one’s own house, the chair is left without being pushed back close to the table.




IN THE COUNTRY, where the dinner is in the middle of the day, the evening meal is called either supper or tea, and an invitation to tea ordinarily means an invitation to the evening meal. In England, where afternoon tea-serving is universal among all classes, the evening meal is frequently designated high tea.

The proprieties concerning afternoon tea are explained in the chapter entitled, “At Homes.”




WHEN A THEATER-PARTY is to be given, it is not customary to use the engraved form of invitations, but notes written in the first person suffice.

97 Hamilton Street,
May 1, 1919

My dear Miss Hammer:

Will you give me the pleasure of dining with me on Wednesday evening of next week, at seven o’clock, and of afterward witnessing the new play at the Brooke Theater?

In the hope that you are free that evening and kindly disposed toward my invitation, I remain,

Yours sincerely,
Mary Holmes


To such an invitation, the guest should return an immediate reply, either of acceptance or rejection, written in the first person, after the manner of the other missive.

It is within the discretion of the host or hostess to secure orchestra seats, or a box. Care should be taken, in the case of a box, not to have a sufficient number of guests to cause crowding. The invitations should be sent out about a week before the evening of the party, but a longer or shorter notice is permissible. A bachelor may find it more convenient to give his invitations in person, orally, and such laxity is allowable on his part.

The giver of the entertainment may use his or her discretion in having attendance on the play preceded by an early dinner-party, which may include all or only a part of his guests; or having it followed by a supper-party. Or the theater alone may be deemed a sufficient entertainment.

Very often, a host orders an omnibus to collect his guests for a theater-party and[136] to carry them to the theater, and back home after the performance. If this is done, the invitation should specify the fact, and notify the guest of the exact time of the omnibus’s arrival.

When a man invites an unmarried woman to be his companion at the theater, he is expected also to invite another woman, either a relation or friend, according to circumstances, who shall act as chaperon. But this rule is not too strictly enforced where a friendship exists between a man and a spinster of mature age.

It is the duty of the man to call in person for his guests, and to provide them with fitting transportation to and from the theater. On their arrival at the theater, if the women leave their wraps in the cloak-room, he also should check his hat and coat. He allows the ladies to precede him, and inside the theater secures programs for them, and then gives his checks to the usher. The usher now leads the way, with the ladies following and the host bringing[137] up the rear. If he has retained his coat and hat, he places his hat under the seat and lays the folded coat over the back of the chair or holds it across his knees. He is careful always to retain the checks during the evening since lack of them might prove embarrassing if any error has been made in the seating arrangements, as sometimes happens.

A man thus escorting ladies to the theater properly remains with them throughout the performance. The only justifiable excuse for leaving them for a few minutes is when he occupies an aisle seat, and then only when during an intermission a friend comes to pay his respects, who can take his place until the rising of the curtain.

The man wears evening dress for the theater. He should by no means appear in a tailless coat when acting as an escort for ladies, or when a guest in a party that includes ladies. He is permitted, however, to remove his gloves on arrival at the theater. The silk hat is often inconvenient for[138] theater purposes, and for that reason the crush hat has been preferred. But this folding form of headgear has lost its vogue to a great extent, and there is a growing tendency toward the use of a black soft hat for such evening wear.

The more usual form of woman’s dress is not the decolleté of the ball-gown, but a less extreme style, with sleeves. It is, of course, of such elegance as to suit the occasion. But the low-neck and sleeveless gown is frequently to be seen, more especially in the boxes.

With the less formal costume, a hat is worn. This and the veil may be removed in the cloak-room, or, if the wrap is retained, it may be kept on until the seat is reached. The outer garment is then folded and laid over the back of the chair. After having seated herself, the woman then unpins her veil and removes it, together with the hat, and these are afterward held in the lap.

If the arrival at the theater is a little[139] late, and the wraps are not left in the cloak-room, it is the part of good taste to remove them before passing down the aisle to the seats. Otherwise, their removal becomes an unpleasant interruption to those seated near by.

This same matter of consideration for the rights of others is the reason why it is necessary that the hats should be removed, since it would shut off the view of the stage from those seated behind. It should be borne in mind always, also, that this consideration for others should extend to the matter of conversation during the performance, which must be rigidly suppressed. Care ought to be taken in every respect lest there be an impolite intrusion on the rights of others.

If there is supper in a restaurant after the play, the wraps should be left in the cloak-room as a rule, but a woman may retain one of a sort that is not cumbersome, according to her pleasure. The hat is not removed for the meal. The veil may[140] either be pushed up or taken off according to the individual preference. The gloves are removed after the party is seated at table, and kept in the lap under the napkin until the conclusion of the meal. They are put on again before leaving the table.




THE WEDDING-INVITATIONS are sent out fully two weeks before the marriage, at least, and they may be sent earlier, up to a limit of two months.

The invitation is engraved on white paper, of which there is a double sheet. The invitation itself must occupy only the first page. An average size is between seven and eight inches in length and about an inch less in width. Script is usually preferred. The invitation is folded once and placed in an unsealed envelope with the guest’s name written on it. Another envelope is used to contain this, on which are written both the name and address,[142] and it is sealed for delivery by post or messenger.

It should be borne in mind that, while husband and wife are joined in a single invitation, other members of the family must be separately invited, except that more than one daughter may be included under the designation The Misses ...................., and similarly more than one son, The Messrs. ..................... Otherwise, a daughter receives an individual invitation, as does also a son.

In cities, on the occasion of church weddings where strangers often intrude, it is common to inclose with the invitation a small card inscribed:

Please present this card at

the Church of the Incarnation

on Tuesday, June the first

A standard form for the wording of the invitation is as follows:


Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Hudson

request the honor of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter



Mr. James Meade Trowbridge

on Tuesday afternoon, June the first

at half-past three o’clock

The Church of the Incarnation


The invitations are issued in the names of the bride’s parents, or, lacking them, in the name of her nearest relative, unless this should be an unmarried sister. When the invitations are issued by a brother, his name only may be used, even though he is married. But where the relation is a married woman, the name of the husband also appears on the invitations. Such invitations issued by some one other than the parents follow the form given above exactly, save that the full name of the bride must be given instead of her Christian name[144] alone, and, of course, the proper relationship must be indicated by a word substituted for daughter.

It is usual, when the bride is a step-daughter, to specify the relationship in the invitation. Thus, in the form given above, if Harriet were the daughter of Mrs. Hudson by a previous marriage, the phrase would run, at the marriage of Mrs. Hudson’s daughter, Harriet Blake Rothwell. If she were the daughter of Mr. Hudson, the phrase would be, at the marriage of Mr. Hudson’s daughter, Harriet.

The invitations to either a wedding-breakfast or reception is inclosed with the invitation to the ceremony, but the engraved card is of the ordinary size.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Hudson

request the pleasure of



on Tuesday, June first

at half-past twelve o’clock

Thirty-six Fremont Avenue


But often the name is omitted, and the invitation may read simply:


From four o’clock

Thirty-six Fremont Avenue

The initials R.s.v.p. may be used in the lower left-hand corner of either form.

The only essential difference in the form of the invitation to a home-wedding is that instead of asking for the honor of your presence, the request is for the pleasure of your company. Of course, the home-address must be given at the end, instead of the name of the church. When the ceremony is to be performed in the presence of only a limited number of friends, those who are to witness it receive with their invitation a small engraved card, inscribed Ceremony at three o’clock, or whatever the hour may be.

Announcement-cards, following the celebration of a quiet wedding, are sent out on the day of the marriage. The paper used is the same as that for the invitations.


Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Hudson

have the honor of announcing

the marriage of their daughter



Mr. James Meade Trowbridge

on Tuesday, June the first

at the Church of The Incarnation

A combination-card of bride and groom, with their address, and perhaps her at-home day, may be inclosed with the announcement.

If, for any reason, the announcement-cards are not issued by the bride’s relatives, they may be sent out by the engaged pair, using the bride’s maiden name

Mr. George Hart Bagot


Miss Mary Elizabeth Peck

have the honor of announcing their marriage

on Monday, June the seventh

at the Church of The Incarnation



Unless the invitation to a wedding carries the letters R.s.v.p., it does not require any reply, but an invitation to the reception or breakfast should be acknowledged by two visiting-cards, sent to the bride’s parents, when attendance is not possible or convenient. An acceptance or declination is written in the third person, and follows the corresponding form in reference to a dinner-invitation, with the necessary verbal change, substituting, wedding-reception of their daughter, for dinner.

No acknowledgment is required for announcement-cards; but it is well to call on, or leave cards for, the bride’s parents.

It is impossible to state exactly all the details in connection with the marriage-ceremony, since the variations in personal taste and circumstances are such that the wedding may be fittingly celebrated in almost regal state, with a dozen bridesmaids and everything else with like profusion, or the rite may be carried out with a plainness and simplicity that yet perhaps[148] yields a significance more touching than that of the gorgeous spectacle. Each circle in every community has its own accepted traditions, and it is always better that these should be followed. The vagaries of fashion may often tempt its votaries to extravagances in following the fads and fancies of the moment. But there should be no frivolous tampering with the marriage rite, which is proclaimed as a sacrament by the church, and should be always esteemed as the most sacred act in the lives of those who thus make their covenants together.

It need only be added that for an evening wedding the bridegroom wears the regulation evening clothes, while for an hour earlier in the day his costume includes a frock-coat of black or dark blue, a black or white waistcoat, and striped trousers of a lighter shade than the coat. The scarf should be a white ascot, caught with a pearl pin.

He wears patent-leather shoes and gray[149] suède gloves. A silk hat forms the headgear to accompany either the evening dress or the other.

A maiden bride should wear white and a veil of tulle with orange blossoms. The gown may be decolleté and sleeveless for an evening wedding. A woman who has been married before may wear any color pleasing to her, but not white, and she must not veil herself, nor display the orange blossoms. A train properly distinguishes the wedding-gown.

On receipt of an invitation to a wedding, any gift should be sent to the bride without delay. There is no obligation on the part of a merely formal acquaintance to send a gift when invited to a church wedding, but it is permissible. Such an obligation exists for one invited to the breakfast or reception, as well as one to be among a limited number present at the actual marriage on the occasion of a home wedding. Sometimes, those invited to a church wedding compromise by sending flowers.


The distinction between the maiden and the matron is again emphasized in the matter of the bouquet carried by the bride, which for the maiden should be of white flowers, such as lilies of the valley, while for the woman it must be at least touched with color—perhaps of orchids.


Emblem: Made Easy Sesries

THERE is no royal road to learning.

IT is an old saying, and a true one, in a sense: for prince and peasant must alike travel the path.

YET, there are many paths, and great differences among them, as they lead to the temple of knowledge. In some, the going is easy: in some, hard. In some, the journeying is pleasant and profitable: in some, toilsome—a weary scramble over many stumbling blocks.

THE builder of the road is the teacher. It is his task to smooth the way, and to make it straight: or to leave it all cluttered, a twisted, haphazard course, that runs roughly and reaches nowhere.

IN the “Made Easy” Series, it has been the publisher’s purpose to provide for the student the best possible road to learning—a road truly royal in its simplicity, its worth: a road wide and direct, and free from foolish, needless litter.[152]

THE various writers of the books in the series have been chosen for their special fitness. Such fitness includes, in the first place, mastery of the particular subject: in the second place, ability to interpret knowledge to others.

RIGHT teaching makes easy learning. Few subjects are really hard to learn, when properly set before the pupil. These volumes are the product of a painstaking care to simplify every detail of instruction, yet to make it complete. The result for the student is, indeed, a learning made easy, yet none the less exact, thorough, wholly adequate for his needs.

The volumes now ready, or in the course of preparation—price $1.00 each—are:

Further titles will be added as opportunity presents itself to secure the proper type of manuscript.